ウイスキーは実はアイルランドから来たということご存知ですか?

The Sourcing DILEMMA - Irish Whiskey

巨人のシチューハウスのアイリッシュウィスキー面白い情報。

For those of you with a penchant for geography you might like to know that the distance between Dublin to Tokyo (lets assume for the purpose of this blog it’s from the Guinness Storehouse at St James’s Gate to the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa) is 9,579km.

巨人のシチューハウスでは様々なアイリッシュウイスキーを紹介できるよう頑張っていますが、アイルランドと日本はとても遠いですね:-/

While that’s very interesting it presents a bit of a logistical headache as I try to source some unique “hard to find in Japan” Irish Whiskeys.

Allow me to explain a little more. You see I read a Forbes article recently entitled “Fine Whiskey from Japan – The Next Big Thing” and straight away I noticed something very interesting…

http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2013/02/20/single-malt-whiskey-from-japan-the-next-big-thing/

The article uses the Irish spelling ‘Whiskey” with an ‘e’ instead of the more common spelling ‘Whisky”. As a lover of this great drink myself I thought I’d share a fun fact. You see, Whiskey originates from the island of Ireland. In the 19th century it was the Irish “Uisce Beatha” (water of life) that dominated the world market, not scotch or as it now seems these wonderful new brands of Japanese Whiskey.

“Uisce Beatha” is the name for whiskey in the Irish language.

アイルランド語でウイスキーは「Uisce Beatha イシュカ バハ」。 Uisce=水 Beatha=生命 という意味があります。

Interestingly, the word "whiskey"  or “whisky” itself stems from the English mispronunciation of the word “Uisce” (イシュカ ) meaning “water”.

しかし、イギリスやアメリカの人たちがアイルランド語の正式な発音ができませんでしたので、みんなは「ウイスキー」と呼ぶようになりました。

So next time you stumble home after finishing several  fine malts and somebody asks what has you in such a state, you can honestly tell them you were just drinking water ;-)

However, history seems to have conspired against the Irish and their “Uisce". The Great Irish famine, the war of independence, high taxes, and prohibition in the US all contributed  to the closure of many Irish distilleries. As the number of Irish distilleries fell those in Scotland grew. So much so that the Whisky makers in Scotland were very successful in globally branding their products collectively as “Scotch”.

ウイスキーというとまず出てくるのはスコッチではないでしょうか?昔はとてもたくさんのディスティラリーがあったものの、グレートアイリッシュファミン、独立戦争、税金の高騰などによって多くのディスティラリーがクローズされました。同じ時代にスコットランドのディスティラリーが多くオープンされ、世界で「スコッチ」が高く評価されるようになりました。

I guess if things were a little different then perhaps Masa & Rita would never have met…as Masa would have likely traveled from Japan to Ireland instead of Scotland in order to study Whiskey Distilling.

もしアイリッシュウイスキーが有名だったら、マサさんはアイルランドにウイスキーの勉強をしに行き、リタさんとは会わなかったかもしれませんね。

Portrait of Nikka Whisky founder Masataka Taketsuru and his wife, Rita. Their lives are currently the subject of a new NHK drama - NIKKA WHISKY/ASAHI BREWERIES

Portrait of Nikka Whisky founder Masataka Taketsuru and his wife, Rita. Their lives are currently the subject of a new NHK drama - NIKKA WHISKY/ASAHI BREWERIES

Actually, to my knowledge only  3 working Irish distilleries remain. (Another fun fact - Suntory now owns Cooley Distillery which is right beside my hometown in Co. Louth, Ireland.)

現在ではアイルランドには3つのディスティラリーのみが存在します。

Remaining Active Whiskey Distilleries in Ireland

Remaining Active Whiskey Distilleries in Ireland

So going back to my original comment, I’m now diligently trying to source more Whiskeys from each of these distilleries for you to try. This distance of 9,579km is a little bit of an obstacle though. If anyone has any good tips or contacts please just let me know...

これらのディスティラリーからオープンに向けてウイスキーを仕入れています。 日本とアイルランド、9579kmという距離は大きな挑戦です。もし良い方法がありましたら教えてください。

Happy New Year.